Culinary Tourism: Discover Ecuador through Great Soups

They are sworn to be cures for hangovers and catalysts for sexual performance.  They are warm, cold, light, heavy, simple, and sophisticated.  And they are the beginning of any respectable meal and the final word for those who wish to understand the art of mankind´s oldest culinary tradition: the soup.

Also called stews, locros, caldos, cazuelas, chupes, aguados, ceviches, viches, sangos, repes, and coladas, they are the symbol of culinary tradition and greatness in Ecuador and a great way to discover the country.  Don’t take this blog’s claims without hearing it from the experts:

Anthony Bourdain of the famed “No Reservation program on the Gourmet Channel: “When it comes to food, in Ecuador, it is all about their soups and stews…wherever you go you see some variation of caldo, stews or soups ranging from the simple to the complex – broth and meat, or fish, and other stuff, either a lot of other stuff or a little.”

And Latin American Gourmet Channel Icon, Chef Sumito Estevez.  During a 2010 visit: “Ecuador possesses the most extensive and complete menu of soups on the continent (and possibly the world).”

During a 2011 visit: “Each time that I ask an Ecuadorian…what I should try they tell me, ‘You have to try a soup, you have to go to the market and try such and such soup.’”

So, tourists and visitors to Ecuador, why is soup such a big deal?

Due to an abundance of products from its four geographic regions (Andes, Amazon, the coast, and the Galapagos Islands), and a history of European influences upon ancestral traditions, Ecuador has one of the broadest menus of soups on the planet.  Some suggested soups to try on your next visit:

ANYWHERE, MUST-TRY SOUPS

Caldo de patas – Cow feet broth, very popular, very delicious.

Sancocho – a broth with hearty comfort foods like meat, yucca, plantain, and corn.

Ceviche – Different from Peruvian ceviche (it is not a soup in Peru), the Ecuadorian version is made with fish or seafood at the coast, but Andean versions use replacements like heart of palm or chocho beans.

MOUNTAIN SOUPS

Locro – often a potato based soup, but could have any tuber as a base.

Aji de Carne – Sweet, thick soup made with sub-trpical maqueño variety of banana

Quinoa soup – Made with the Andean grain it also has meat, potatoes, and other vegetables

Repe – plantain based with millk products, vegetables, seasonings

COASTAL SOUPS

Viche – vegetable based with fish and plantain and other seasongins

Chupe – potato based, also with fish and other vegetables and seasonings

Cazuelas – base of plantain with coconut and peanut, with seafood such as crab, shrimp, etc.

Encebollado – Yucca based with fish, onion, and other ingredients and seasonings

Sopa de Bolas de Verde – brothwith vegetables, egg, and meat, and the balls made from green plantains.

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